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Total cost of traffic ticket

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Total cost of traffic ticket

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 15, 2013

$235 in court costs and fees for a $50 ticket? Would you be mad, too?

A reader wrote to me recently about the shaft delivered by the McHenry County Circuit Court during a settlement of a Bull Valley speeding ticket.

"I just came home from court to 'google' Why the heck I just paid $250 in court cost. For a $50 speeding (minor/reduced) ticket.

"I read your article http://woodstockadvocate.blogspot.com/2010/06/rip-off-mchenry-county-courts.html and would like to thank you for the information on who to send my complaint to. I am guilty of my crime. I made a mistake. I though going to court and paying for the fine, missing work was punishment enough. How I paid for clerk $15, court automation fee $15, Court Doc fee $15, Electronic Citation (?) $5, Mental Health Court fine (what is this stuff??) Drug court fine (? for a speeding ticket?) $5, Court Fee $5, Court Security Fee $25, Court Supervision Bull Valley $35, Attorney fee Bull Valley (why when I plead guilty?) $25, States Attorney auto $5, Child Advocacy Center Fine (?) $13 PTF-10 TR/CR Surcharge (clueless) $20 Fine Bull Valley Here's my reduced fine of $50! State Police OP Assistance $15.

"I know you aren't the guy I need to complain to I just hope more awareness is brought to this BULLcrap in BULLvalley!"


If you get a ticket and are cited into the Circuit Court in Woodstock, be fore-warned of the possible financial consequences.

If you appear in court to plead Guilty, you WILL be assessed an outrageous amount of court costs and fees, in addition to the fine. The judge will set the fine. And a number of judges explain that they do not set the court costs and fees. The costs and fees are set by the Illinois Legislature and the McHenry County Board. Often, judges will reduce fines, because they know you are going to get it socked to you at the Payment window. And that you don't realize just how outrageous the costs and fees will be until you get to the Payment window. Some judges even tell defendants not to be mad at them or at the women who work at the Payment window.

The only reason to appear in court is to plead your case and to try to be found Not Guilty. Otherwise, pay the ticket in advance. Do not go to court to pay your ticket fine. Read your ticket. Ask questions well before your Court Date. (And do you think the cops know you probably won't fight a ticket?)

If you are going to plead Guilty, or if you decide to because you think you can't win in court, then bite the bullet and fork over the $120. That's a smaller bullet than a fine PLUS the huge amount of court costs and fees.

Want to complain about it? Call your State Representative, your State Senator, and your elected County Board members for your District (or all of them). Election time is coming up. Ask your elected representatives where they stand on this issue. Tell them to lower these costs. Ask them what they will do to lower these costs. \

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